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First Time Overnight Hike, Gear and Ideals help!

8:41 a.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Hello everyone, I am happy to have found this community, and look forward to being a part of it for years to come.  Let me start by tellion gyou a bit about myself.  Im 25 years old, from Michigan, and a very avid camper. Started out going to State Parks (yuck), and worked my way to where I am at now, primarily camping in State Forest or National Forest Campgrounds, the less amenities the better.  Don't care for listening to someone run a generator for hours while Im trying to enjoy mother nature.  I've done a few short hikes, in excess of 5 miles or so, but never done an over night hike. 

A couple of friends and I are planning of taking a trip this summer (June-August) and hiking the Manistee River Trail, it is a 23 mile loop that takes you over relatively flat terrain, though it does have some inclines and high banks.  We are planning on going up on a Friday morning, and trying to finish it by Sunday, which I don't think will be a problem.  Having never done this long of a hike, I feel the need to properly plan everything.  I plan on buying a large pack, the kind with a frame, and I don't want to spend more than 40 dollars on it.  I know I wont be getting a top of the line pack for that price, and I am more than willing to buy it used, just don't want to spend all the money and then decide I don't like it, even if I am 99.99% sure I will.  As far as shelter goes, I am planning on  bringing a hammock I got for Christmas, a sleeping bag, and a tarp, with an emergency bivy to use if some freak weather blows in.  I have listed my gear list below, please have a look and tell me what you think.  Any addition/subtractions, etc.  

 

Clothes Quantity
Non Cotton Underwear 3
Coolmax Socks 4
Swim Trunks 1
Pant-shorts 2
Polyester Shirts 3
Fleece Sweater 1
Long Underwear 1
Rain Gear 1
Hiking Boots 1
Water Shoes 1
Belt 1
Hat 1
Bandanas 2
Sunglasses 1

Gear Quantity
Back Pack 1
Map 1
Compass 1
Small LED Flashlight 1
Headlight 1
Hatchet 1
4 Inch Knife 1
Multi Tool 1
Camel Back 1
Canteen 1
Canteen Stove 1
Water Tablets 1 Bottle
Lighter 1
Matches 1
Steel Wool 1
9V Batter 1
Zip Lock Bags 3
Army Shovel 1
Bug Spray 1
Sun Screen 1
10 Foot Paracord 5
50 Foot Paracord 1
Tooth Brush 1
Tooth Paste 1
Contacts Case 1
Contacts Solution 1
ID and Cash 1
Biodegradable TP 1
Watch 1
Pencil & Note Pad 1
Camera 1
Silverware 1

Food Quantity
Oatmeal 4
Nutri Grain Bars 6
Snickers Bars 6
Beef Jerky 3
Austin Crackers 4
Gatoraid Powder 1 box
Trail Mix 4
Knorr Sides 3
Chicken Pouches 1 or 2
Tuna Pouches 1 or 2
Instant Potatoes 1 or 2
Instant Rice Pouches 1 or 2
Spices

Shelter Quantity
Hammock 1
Tarp (6x8) 1
Mosquito Net 1
Sleeping Bag 1
Emergency Bivy 1

First Aide Kit Quantity
Band Aides 5
Ointment 1
Gauze Pads 2
Tape 1
Alcohol Pads 5
Tweezers 1
Lip Balm 1

 

10:40 a.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Do you think I need a large pack with a frame, or would a simple back pack do the job for this length?

10:54 a.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Too many clothes, no fruits and vegetables.

I like external frame packs and think that a used one is a good place to start.

11:16 a.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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just from looking at it, a basic place to start would be to lower your underwear, socks, and shirts. you can get away with 2 really, wear 1 wash 1. your swim trunks could double as your shorts, or if you have quick drying shorts, they can replace your swimtrunks. how many nights will this take? also, 100 ft of parachord may be overkill, but then again, you may be using it for your hammock. just a couple of ideas.

i bought my bag off craigslist for 50. used all the way for a first timer. definately get a bag with a frame, as your not an ultralight kind of guy right now. but you shouldn't need more than 50L unless your sleeping bag is huge.

welcome to trailspace! great people around here.

11:58 a.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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What types of fruit and veggies are good to bring?  I like just about anything, but hadn't thought of it!  

Thanks for the tips jp, Ill revise my list!  as for the paracord, I figured around 10 ft to sting my tarp above the hammock, and at least four more 10 footers for support with stakes, the other 50 would be more for general purpose if I needed it.  I was thinking about getting a mosquito net to hang over my hammock too, good idea?  The skeeters and flies can get thick in northern Michigan at times.  

1:05 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Welcome to Trailspace brandnewrock8!

First - I'd get comfortable with the idea that everyone has a unique style for backpacking.  There are no "right" answers.

I think you'd find a lot of agreement (certainly not unanimity) about reducing the amount of superfluous stuff.  For example, you're bringing:

Hatchet 1
4 Inch Knife 1
Multi Tool 1

It's highly unlikely that you'll need all 3. I personally get along with a small knife and some tweezers, but even most of the seriously dedicated knife people don't bring more than 1 blade backpacking.

A small community of folks are highly dedicated to their frame packs (see, for example, my friend Ed: http://www.trailspace.com/blog/2011/10/10/anti-gear-hero.html).  While I'll always consider a frame pack the defacto standard for carrying very heavy loads over challenging terrain, I think most folks do a bit better with a narrower pack that weighs a lot less. Your mileage my vary!

Inevitable, the best teacher is experience.  You'll have a lovely hike, learn a few things, find you use some things and don't use other things and the next time around will be better!  Happy hiking!

4:21 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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+1 on the tips others have given thus far.

As far as a pack goes, for $40 your options are severly limited. However, a good item for that price range is a Large ALICE pack, this is a military surplus  external frame pack. I have one that I would sell to you for $35 plus whatever shipping is, it is brand new, never used and never issued, includes frame,straps,hipbelt etc.

Some people will say that the ALICE is the most uncomfortable pack in existance. I completely disagree with this generalization. Most of the people that have experience with it was from active duty service where they were forced to carry 100+lbs in it. And of course that made it uncomfortable! With a typical load for backing of say 20-50lbs its just fine.

If you are handy with a sewing machine and a little time on your hands you can do whats called a Hellcat mod (can research this online) on this pack, which will make it much more comfortable as it adds things like load lifter straps, better shoulder straps etc.

The ALICE packs are practically indestructible, rugged as you can get. For $40 i honestly believe you can't get a better pack. A good quality modern day backpack that will last you many years is going to cost at a minimum of $125 or so, and that is on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

The large ALICE pack is about 70L capacity.

They are often sold on ebay as well.

Your gear:

Items i STRONGLY recommend you leave home

1 pair of underwear. You only need 2 pairs. Wash one if you want a clean pair.

2 pairs of socks. You only need to bring 2 pairs not 4

Pant-shorts and swim trunks-pick one or the other, you can swim in both

Leave at least 1 of the poly shirts

Do you really need water shoes? this is a personal choice

small led flashlight

leave hatchet- you can baton wood with your 4in knife

multitool

army shovel

paracord- you dont need 5 10ft sections and a 50ft section. I would trim this down ALOT. Tip-buy a roll of mason line from home depot etc and carry this instead. Very high strength and MUCH lighter than paracord.

Silverware-I surely hope this is just the name you used and not actual silverware from your kitchen.

Emergency bivy-You have a tarp. Worst case scenario your tarp breaks and you have to wear your rain gear. Its not the end of the world if you leave it, but i would. What are the chances of your tarp being ruined to the point of being unuseable? even if you rip out a tie out point etc you can still tie a knot in it and put a new guyline on with a larkshead knot etc. Or just wrap yourself up in the tarp.

As you can see, there are alot of items you can leave behind and save aLOT of weight out of your pack. You WILL not enjoy your trip if you lug all of that heavy stuff with you. If you have questions about anything we advise to leave behind just ask.

Hope that all helps some. If your interested in the Alice pack just shoot me a pm.

 

4:25 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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On the mosquito netting. Go to a fabric store and buy a few yards of no-see-um netting, fold it in half and measure it out to about 9 or 10 ft long. Take a tube of seam sealer or silicone caulk diluted with mineral spirits and "weld" a seam along the ends where its folded. You are basically making a sock that you will slide over your hammock. You can also sew on velcro in vice of making a permenant seam, though this is obviously more involved. You can make a sock version in about 10 minutes and for only a few bucks. I did this until i bought a hammock with built in netting.

You can get easily chilled in a hammock especially if the temps drop below 70F even in the summer. I recommend underquilts, but they are expensive. An alternative is to use a cheap ccf pad in the bottom of your hammock. Yet another alternative is to use a car foam windshield screen, the reflective kind. These are quite warm, and i use one on occassion to suppplement my system in winter. But on warmer nights it might be enough. This is a personal thing, and takes a good deal of experimentation to find what works for you. I HIGHLY recommend that you bring some kind of under/bottom insulation with you on your trip.

 

5:20 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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The water shoes are a personal preference. That river is very rocky and I plan on taking a few dips. I like the rest of the ideas though, the less weight the better for me. I love the mosquito net idea. Do you still hang it? I was thinking if it was laying directly onto of me it wouldn't be as effective. As far as being cold that was the reason for the bivy, the one I looked at was made out of space blanket and thought it would help along with my sleeping bag. But I'm more than willing to explore other options. Thanks everyone for your replies so far, they are greatly appreciated!

5:47 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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I take it your hammock does not have a ridgeline? Just so i can better understand your situation, what hammock do you have?

Generally speaking you are correct that the netting would be laying on you. IF you have a ridgeline it would be laying on the ridgeline and not on you.

IF you do not have a ridgeline, it may be possible to add one to your hammock. Otherwise you could just run a line of the masons line between the trees right above your hammock as tight as you can get it(use a truckers hitch knot) and use it as a make shift ridgeline. So you would need to put the netting around your hammock and then run the ridgeline through it and tighten. That make sense?

Oh i forgot to mention, at the foot end of your netting just tie a double surgeons knot or similar and just burn a small hole big enough to pass your hammock suspension and ridgeline, or you can use a binder clip. And on the head end you can also use a binder clip, velcro etc, there are lots of ways to do it. Just play around with the setup until you get it right for YOU.

I am a year round hammocker, so by all means ask questions.

6:26 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Im not sure your tarp is big enough to use on a ridgeline. In my opinion a 9 by 9 is about the min if you want good coverage. I would carry the bivy as well, but im always gear heavy. If you have a hammock failure, the bivy could save the day. You said you got the hammock for xmas. I would recommend several over nights, even in the backyard. Then you should load your pack and walk a few miles with the load. An alice pack will work, I would look on clist or ebay for a camp trails or old kelty external frame. I agree about the other comments, I would recommend some dried fruits and or veggies. Fresh is great for the first night, but heavy and could spoil or rot. I would buy a niteize figure 9 carabiner, then you can use it to set your ridge line and adjust it with ease. Dutchware makes a similar product for more money, the niteize is four bucks. If you go on this trip without trying your pack and getting some experience in your hammock, I can almost guarantee you will have some issues on your trip. Do the people you are going with have much experience, will they be in hammocks. Are you sure there will be acceptable trees, maybe a small tent split between you would be a good idea. As you see and someone posted, we are all diff, with diff habits and camping styles. I think we will all agree that a couple of one nighters, with the people your going with could be helpful. Plus you get to use your gear. Im assuming the canteen stove is your cook stove, I would leave that and go with something simple, your food looks like heating water is all you will be doing. I would make a super cat or penny stove and carry a few ounces of denatured alchol. Perfect fro that length trip in the summer, bring a big piece of foil for a windscreen and your all set. So, no hatchet, less clothes, a little dif food, a lighter stove, and a bigger tarp should be all the changes you need to make. I wouldnt carry the steel wool and nine volt tho, maybe the steel wool, you can always steal a battery from one of your lights. Every bit of weight saved will be a blessing, and it all adds up. You should put all the gear, food everything you plan on taking in a big trash bag and weigh it, then add a few pounds for a cheaper pack. Im guessing 50+ lbs, but I dont know about your hammock or tent weight. Sorry to ramble, I wish I had found a site like this when I was starting out, would have saved a lot of wear and tear on my back. I used ti carry everything you could think of.

6:28 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Leave the army shovel, get a cathole shovel, metal works better, plastic is lighter.

7:10 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Ditch the hatchet and shovel. Canteen and camelback are overkill, too. Bring one or the other. Use a water bottle instead of a canteen. Paracord is too light for a hammock, especially if it is nylon. You'll have your rump on the ground by morning, especially if it rains. 2 shorts, 2 underwear. Your second shorts/pants as shorts can be your trunks.

What's the steel wool for? With the 9v I assume firestarter. Fun, but not necessary. More extensive first aid kit, including some gauze roll, Ibuprofen, etc.

More fun food, fruit, either dried or fresh. Where's the tea? Don't skimp on food.

I would not recommend ditching the multi tool. They almost always have a blade or two. You'll find it more useful than the knife.

Don't skimp on the quality of your pack. A poorly fitting one is a akin to torture.

What do you have for a stove? Or are you going to cook on a fire. Burn bans might be in effect, so a stove is recommended.

7:30 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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The hammock is a Grand Trunk Ultralight, you can find it on amazon.

It does not have a ridgeline, but yeah I can just tie one on, no big deal there, I cant get over how much I LOVE your netting idea Rambler, call me dumb, but any time I can make something as apposed to buying it is a plus to me.  How do others feel about my tarp?  A different site I was on said anything bigger than 6x8 was overkill, but then again they may have been just stringing it up on the flat.   I havent bought it yet, so Im open to suggestions.  

Erich you caught me trying to have fun with the steel wool and battery, saw it on a survival show and thought it would be cool to try.   I haven't bought the paracord yet either, so I may take your guys advise on that one too, although the stuff I was going to buy was rated for 500+ pounds, are your concerns with it stretching?  Could you guys elaborate on the stove?  I haven't bought one yet either, but I like the idea of being able to find a couple handfuls of sticks and use that as fuel as apposed to fumbling around with an alternative, but perhaps I just need enlightenment.  

Hotdogman, I don't mind your rambling, as you will find out, I tend to be one myself...  Ha!

I like your idea about trying the hammock and pack out a bit before going, makes good sense to me.  I had planned on putting the hammock to work this summer anyway, I have always loved them, but haven had one in a bit.  Although I have been knows to make one out of a tarp from time to time!  

8:15 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Your tarp will work fine when rigged over your hammock, provided it is rigged properly. However, it is somewhat minimal coverage. basically there just isn't any extra room to stand under really. Personally I prefer a much bigger tarp with my hammock. I use a Warbonnet Superfly tarp. Take a look at the Warbonnet outdoors website and look at the tarps so you can visualize te different tarp sizes from minimal coverage to full coverage. Tey have a good photo of them all rigged on top of each other so you can see the size difference.

What are you using for your hammock suspension, I surely hope it's not para cord.

11:30 p.m. on January 17, 2013 (EST)
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Where is the whisky and smokes on your list?  Or are you a survivalist!

Ed

6:39 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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No smokes, yuck!  Might bring some liquor, but not really looking to get blazed either, lol.

What should I use to rig up my tarp Rambler?  The rope you mentioned earlier?  Like I said, I havent bought it yet, so I would like to get it right.

Thanks!

1:16 p.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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WMW is trying to ask if you have any fun things along... like a book and a full playlist on your mp3 player. (Yeah, I know...but no need to explain Everclear now).

My routine cook kit consists of a plastic cup with fluid measures etched into it, a Lexan plastic spoon (and a spare), a small canister stove such as a Pocket Rocket and a small light weight 1 liter pot and a wind screen for the fire.  I got tired of cleaning the soot off of me, my tent, pack, bag and pot from an open cook fire.

My first aid kit is on the minimalist side.  Since I'm not a surgeon I leave a lot of the stuff that would require open wound surgery at home and make sure I have my prescriptions, my type of pain suppressor, (I don't give prescription medication to strangers),  a sharp single blade knife, roll of 1/2" adhesive tape, duct tape for hotspots on my feet, Bandaid/3M/J&J pads, Ibuprofen (enough for 2 x max dose for 1/2 the trip days), Benadryl (for sleeping), Bacitracin,  tweezers, dental numbing drops, medical grade 'superglue', rubber gloves, couple of large safety pins and a small first aid book that covers most things I'd run into. High number UV and DEET go in separate pocket.

For those that need it, if they don't have it, I'll improvise for splints and etc, but it would be best for their sake to be evacuated if it really hurts or is life threatening and or not in that book. 

Keep that list you published and after every trip, check out what you carried and would not have or didn't use or could have replaced with something better.   Keep the list up dated and handy for next time.  Have a column for weight of each item in ounces/grams.

You will have a different list for winter such as a double sleep pad for more insulation.

The first day you can pack anything perishable with you for that night's meal - including a steak or fish.  Or a watermelon.

Try everything out in your back yard over a weekend.  Including food you might take that sounds good.  If more than a few days, a variety of tastes are a lot better than rice and potatoes (with brown gravy) every meal.  Don't bring anything to eat with you on a trip that doesn't contribute to the calorie load you will need everyday.  Carrying a heavy pack up hill can cost you 400-600kcal an hour.  Plan on snacking all day long rather than just one or two large meals a day.

Use a garden type plastic trowel for 'cat holes'.  You can buy something similar at REI.com 

You can buy mosquito net head coverings that way less than an ounce.  Skeeter's blood sucking apparatus can get you through netting that touches your skin.  Camp farther away from water and on a ridge that has a breeze to cut down on flying critters.  Hike with doses of DEET (little goes a long ways).  Around the camp at night protect ankels with thick socks and neck with a hooded top.  Usually when you sleep they do too.  Mosquitoes are more active after sundown and just before sun up.  If you get nailed and the bite is bothering you, Preparation H works.  A dab on the bite will do ya.

Get a copy of Mountaineering:Freedom of the Hills (from local library if need be) and spend time with it this winter.  Wealth of information for hiking and backpacking.

If you can, rent a pack before you buy one. That way you get to be down and dirty with it before you find out you don't want to have it forever.

This can be a very expensive sport. 

3:55 p.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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I use Kelty trip tease for my guy lines, but I used the mason line I mentioned for a long time and I still carry it as my bear bag rope/ extra cordage. mason line is cheap, strong, and durable.

don't take a trowel of any sort... use a stick, rock , or even a trekking pole. I have yet to be unable to dig a cathole with a stick or rock within a few feet of me. heck even the heel of your boot works fine in a lot of places.

11:32 p.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks for the tips guys. I have some gear to buy and test for sure. Glad I came hrre as soon as I did!

10:26 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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There are lots of things on your list that can be left out.  Carrying them a few times and not using them makes a lasting impression.  That is why experience is the best teacher.

A good example is a trowel.  I have backpacked for 50 years and never used one.  Use your boot heel or a stick.

 

11:18 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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I don't think I've ever seen an equipment list quite that long for a simple two night/three day backpacking trip.

Instead of starting from 'What might possibly be useful', start from 'What do I absolutely HAVE to have'.

Try things like the one set of underwear you have on, one multi-purpose tool, one shelter system, one flashlight, and so on. Add only what you are certain you will need to have. 

If you're packing the kitchen sink, you'll be slogging along with so much weight that you won't be having any fun. 

12:11 p.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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Here is a link to my typical 3 day summer/3 season trip load out. I have everything i need to be completely comfortable and have a great time. There are a few more things i could leave home or other ways to lower my weight  if i wanted too, but find their comfort/utility etc is worth carrying to me.

http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=10956

Gear grams is a free site to use, and lets you enter in all your gear and weights and gives you a good way to keep track of everything and see it all in one spot. I like it, but you by no means have to use it.

My 3 day 3 season load out is 28.22lbs with 3 days of food(just use an averae of 2lbs a day) and 3L water. Sometimes if water is ample i will only carry 1L at a time. So my weight can be between 24-28 depending on the amount of water i am carrying.

With this setup i am good down to high 30s or so, and with just a few minor tweaks am good to 30ish. Any colder than that and i shift to my winter setup which is substantially heavier.

6:27 p.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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Good advise guys. I am known to bring the entire house with me when I travel. Ill work on cutting it down.

12:01 a.m. on January 20, 2013 (EST)
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Do what the common wisdom is about any kind of travel-lay out all of your stuff, put half of what's there back in the closet and drawers, then start over and do it again. You are going to be gone for 3 days, not six months and yes, I know people who have traveled for that long with far less than you have on your list. I spent a couple of months hiking and bike touring in New Zealand starting with less than what's on your list, not including bike spares and a few things I bought along the way.

Here are my comments-

Clothes Quantity
Non Cotton Underwear 3; No - 2
Coolmax Socks 4; No - 2 pair
Swim Trunks 1 - OK something like board shorts
Pant-shorts No - pants should be part of your raingear; use swim suit instead of shorts; (Birdwells are indestructible, but you'll never find them in a store)
Fleece Sweater 1
Long Underwear 1
Rain Gear 1 - jacket and pants, Marmot Precip or similar
Hiking Boots 1
Water Shoes 1 - No, wade any streams in your boots
Belt 1 Wear something that doesn't need one
Hat 1
Bandanas 2 -No 1
Sunglasses 1

Back Pack 1
Map 1
Compass 1
Small LED Flashlight 1
Headlight 1
Hatchet 1 NO
4 Inch Knife 1
Multi Tool 1 NO take something like a Swiss Army knife
Camel Back 1
Canteen 1 NO, you have a Camelback
Canteen Stove 1 Not sure what this is. Take a small canister stove instead
Water Tablets 1 Bottle
Lighter 1 Take 2
Matches 1 (REI Waterproof)
Steel Wool 1 I wouldn't bother,there are far better fire starters
9V Battery 1
Zip Lock Bags 3
Army Shovel 1 NO, too heavy
Bug Spray 1
Sun Screen 1
10 Foot Paracord 5 Why?
50 Foot Paracord 1
Tooth Brush 1
Tooth Paste 1
Contacts Case 1
Contacts Solution 1
ID and Cash 1
Biodegradable TP 1 (TP by definition is biodegradeable, its paper)
Watch 1
Pencil & Note Pad 1
Camera 1
Silverware 1 Get plastic camping stuff

The rest is fine.

MISSING -

Fleece Beanie

Fleece or similar Gloves

Not sure what the lowest temps will be. Where is this, the UP? Might be chilly at night.

I bought a cheap pack a while back. Internal frame, nice construction, about $40 if I remember right. I think the brand is Outdoor Products, but not sure; don't see it on their website, but it's a couple of years old. It's in Iceland right now, otherwise I'd look. Fairly big, not too heavy, big shovel pocket on the back. It's been to India for three weeks with a friend and now, as mentioned Iceland.

 

 

10:38 a.m. on January 21, 2013 (EST)
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Hi BrandNew

A couple thoughts:

1. Have you slept in you hammock much? If you haven't, you should try it out a couple times before you commit to it. There's a bit of an art to getting it set up so you don't end up bunched up in the middle and very stiff in the morning. If you can sleep on your back you might be OK, but if you're a side sleeper like me you might have a hard time getting a good night's sleep. You will also probably need some kind of insulation on the bottom even when sleeping in a hammock. Both down and synthetic fill will compress under your weight and you may find yourself surprisingly cold even in summer. A Thermarest Z-lite (folding closed cell foam pad) or something similar will do the trick in summer. I like to use polypropylene rope for hanging a hammock because it's light and relatively easy to get knots out of.

2. It sort of looks like you're planning on using a traditional fire for cooking, with some sort of stove for a backup. I'll venture to guess that most of us on this site would choose not to have or cook over a fire on most nights in summer, for various reasons: you don't want to leave a fire scar or pit, at least where there wasn't one before; in heavily used areas it can be hard to find dead and down wood; fires will blacken your pots and can be messy and smoky, especially if you don't have a big fire to keep the smoke going up; starting and cooking over a fire in the rain can be an exercise in frustration; and sometimes you pay more attention to your surroundings, including night sounds and the stars overhead, when you're not tending and staring into a fire. This is why many of us think you don't need that hatchet. I'm not sure what your "canteen stove" is,  but if your meals are simple enough you can get by with a cheap/simple alcohol stove (you can make your own, or check out White Box Stove, Minibull Designs, Trangia, there are others) or Esbit solid fuel stove. (Now that I've said all that, I'm "guilty" of doing the John Muir and High Sierra Trails in the Sierra Nevada without a stove, but that was my own exercise in minimalist backpacking, and the Sierra in summer, from the dry skies to the sandy soils are an almost ideal environment for that kind of thing as long as you are careful and clean. But that was also a long time ago and both rules and attitudes have changed a lot since then.)

You might also want to look at the Leave No Trace web site to get some sense of the philosophy many of use here adhere to as applied to fires and many other issues. It's your choice, there are no hard and fast rules and I myself might sometimes choose to have a fire on a cool summer night, but if you have a usable stove you have a choice.

3. Sunscreen?

12:36 p.m. on January 21, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks!  I actually made a penny stove this morning this morning, had a pot of water boiling in under 5 minutes!  I really like it, what do you think?  It seems to work well, but I will probably remake it, I ended up bending the can a little and it seeps fluid a bit, still works though.  Im using HEET as a fuel source. 


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2:17 p.m. on January 21, 2013 (EST)
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Nice! Looks like it should do the trick. I also made a version of the penny stove and had the same problem, but I just filled the gap with high temp silicon. Works fine but I ended up buying a whitebox because it is stove and stand all in one. Trouthunter and others here have a lot of experience making alky and wood-gasifier stoves, hunt around and you'll find some threads on that.

8:34 p.m. on January 21, 2013 (EST)
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Heet is toxic. I would use something else for an alcohol stove.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isopropanol#Toxicology

8:49 a.m. on January 22, 2013 (EST)
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Iso-Heet is Isopropanol, just regular Heet is methanol and is not toxic.

"Methanol is also a widely used fuel in camping and boating stoves. Methanol burns well in an unpressurized burner, so alcohol stoves are often very simple, sometimes little more than a cup to hold fuel. This lack of complexity makes them a favorite of hikers who spend extended time in the wilderness"

 

Pulled from the wikipedia page for Methanol.

10:05 a.m. on January 22, 2013 (EST)
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Yes, yellow bottle heet is ok, the red bottle stuff is bad. I prefer to just use denatured alcohol bought in a large container at any hardware store because its much cheaper in the long run.

4:26 p.m. on January 22, 2013 (EST)
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Paracord is great for somethings. However, it is stretch that is the problem not strength and being able to untie it. Swiss Army Knife is good, especially a Wenger or older Victorinox, not the new V, they are inferior to the Swiss made ones, IMO. The multi tool has advantage, such as pliers, which are useful for picking up hot pots. A balaclava might be useful. 

Everyone has preferences, and these change with time, and location and expected weather and other needs.

Deet is effective(you will be in bug country) but remember that it is highly toxic and will melt synthetics. Because of your location, I would invest in an Original Bug Shirt. You are in heavy bug country and many of the rest of us are not.

Remember to increase your FA supplies.

8:32 a.m. on January 24, 2013 (EST)
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Yeah Rambler, I plan on buying a big jug of Denatured like you said, I was at the local box everything store (Meijer in my neck of the woods) and they has HEET on sale and the bottle of Denatured was small and seemed overpriced, and I wanted to go with the cheaper option fro just trying out my creation.  Thanks for the advice Erich, Ill take it into consideration.  Your right about being in bug country though, funny thing is, something as simple as the way the wind is blowing, or a couple weeks time makes such a difference.  For instance, I don't usually go into the UP until late July and August.  Last year I went the second weekend of August and did not have to apply skeeter spray once, didnt have a problem with bugs at all, and we camped in a heavily wooded place too.  But yeah, Ill look into your suggestions.

Thanks!

6:39 p.m. on January 24, 2013 (EST)
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On a related topic. I too enjoy making homemade alcohol stoves. But, if you are interested in buying a very well made alcohol stove I suggest taking a look at zelph stove works. His stoves are awesome, very well made, and are very well priced Most are in the 7-20$ range.

My homemade stoves all work, but are far from very fine craftsmanship. I just lack the proper tools to take it to that next level of craftsmanship.

I have several, and really like them.

http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

3:29 p.m. on January 30, 2013 (EST)
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looks like everything has been covered. hope you experiment in the backyard as opposed to the backcountry. especially with the hammock. there is a trick to setting them up. have fun!

7:56 p.m. on January 30, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks everyone!

2:26 p.m. on February 6, 2013 (EST)
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I'm sure you already have a pack by now dude. But, if you are still looking... check out this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Outdoor-Products-4144WM-000-Firefly-External/dp/B00538FVRG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360178472&sr=8-2&keywords=firefly+outdoor+pack

It's a cheap pack, but well worth it. The quality is good, and I've used it on several trips now. It will hold up nice. It has an external frame with a mesh lumbar support that is fully adjustable. Not sure if you have an Acadamy Sports close by... but I got mine there for $38 before tax. So your looking at a $40 dollar pack that will work nice. And it has a stupid amount of room in it. I've taken it on 3 and 4 day trips and still have not filled it to the brim. Enjoy yourself out there..... BE COOL.

9:10 a.m. on February 7, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks Shenora, I ended up buying the ALICE pack from Rambler, and LOVE it!  Im fairly certain I could fit both my kids in it, hahaha.

12:44 p.m. on February 7, 2013 (EST)
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Sounds cool to me brand, have fun on the dirt

Be Cool

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